(fwd from Joe Freeman) Re: some scientific causality, but...

Les Schaffer schaffer at optonline.net
Fri Feb 15 22:13:20 MST 2002


In a message dated 2/15/2002 2:01:09 PM Central Standard Time,
schaffer at optonline.net writes:

     For two thirds of the world's population, 'business as usual'
     involves
     an ever-widening gap between hope for the future and expectation of
     any relief it will bring from poverty, disease and disaster. Fear of
     falling victim to natural calamities - and those generated by the
     lifestyles of a highly privileged minority - remains as strong as
     ever. Despicable as the perpetrators and those who motivated their
     actions were, the attacks arose from the growing powerlessness of
     hundreds of millions of dispossessed people. Global communications
     ensure that they are confronted daily by what they lack, leading to a
     deep sense of unfairness and victimhood.
     


A recent article sent to me on-line with some interesting figures.
Joe
P.O. Box 3524, Chicago, IL 60654
                        http://www.lrna.org
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STATE OF THE UNION: THE ATTACK ON AMERICA'S POOR
Amidst applause, smiles and cheers, George W. Bush delivered his
State of the Union Address. It was a magnificent show of a world
power. It let the world know that America was "united" in
fighting its war against terrorism, wherever it lurched its head.
Zero tolerance. They either had to be "with us or against us."
Ra! Ra! Ra! The crowd of politicians gathered in Congress
cheered.
The TV cameras on cue would focus on Laura Bush who, with misty
eyes, dotingly looked at her husband. Strategically placed next
to her stood the new Afghan head of state, and to his right stood
the widow of the American CIA agent killed in Afghanistan. What a
pretty picture.
This was the setting where President Bush unveiled his plans to
allocate the Pentagon a total of $379 billion. This comes to a
little bit more than a billion dollars a day that will be spent
on homeland security and the war on terrorism.
This is a $48 billion overall increase in defense spending,
representing the largest percentage increase since the United
States escalated its involvement in the Viet Nam War in 1966.
While military and homeland security spending would increase by
12 percent and 111 percent respectively, the budget for
everything else would increase only by 2 percent.
Do we have to ask who's paying for this "war on terrorism" and
for "homeland security"? In essence, the war on terror has become
a war against the poor of America.
Poor America wakes up at the crack of dawn to go to work --
whether this is in an office, a factory, the fields, or combing
through garbage cans looking for whatever is edible or that can
be sold. Poor America lacks health care; about 43 million people
have no health insurance. (Two million people lost their health
care just in the past year because of the declining economy.)
Poor America goes to bed hungry. One out of four is a child. Poor
America is homeless.
Homelessness is the end of the spiral for the unemployed. It
begins with workers losing their jobs. Because there are no jobs,
it continues with them getting lower-paying jobs or working for
temporary agencies for $20 a day. It worsens with them trying to
choose between paying the rent and eating. Soon after, they call
the streets their homes.
Homelessness is growing in America. It has jumped 13 percent
nationwide, and requests for emergency shelter increased by 13
percent in the year 2001. In Chicago homelessness surged 22 per
cent, and in San Francisco, 20 percent. In Washington, the number
of homeless families has risen by 32 percent, after four years of
decline.
The problem is most pronounced in the Northeast, where rents are
the highest in the nation. In Massachusetts, there has been a 40
percent rise in homeless families since August 1999.
Compounded with homelessness is the fact that hunger is also
rising in this country. Requests for food aid arose 23 percent
from last year. America's Second Harvest (A2H), the largest
organization of emergency food providers, conducted a study and
its findings are astounding.
A2H serves an estimated 23.3 million different people a year.
Approximately 7 million different people receive assistance in
any given week. Thirty-nine percent of the members of households
served by A2H are children under 18 year old. Eleven percent are
elderly. Forty-five percent of A2H clients are white, and 39
percent of households served include one employed adult.
What best depicts the conditions of the poor in America is the
choices they confront. They have to choose between food and the
other basic necessities of life. What kind of a choice is this?
Yet million of Americans face these choices on a daily basis.
A2H found that 45 percent of its clients reported having to
choose between food and paying utilities; 36 percent had to
choose between paying for food and paying their rent or mortgage
bill; 30 percent had to choose between paying for food and paying
for medicine or medical care.
This is the situation that more Americans are facing on a daily
basis. Yet this is a situation that President Bush and our
political leaders choose to ignore. While Bush and our political
leaders talk about safety and security from terrorists, they
forget that hunger and homelessness is the biggest terror we
Americans fear.
The roots of terrorism lie in the fact that more and more human
beings are going without. The solution to terrorism is creating a
world without the cancer of poverty, homelessness and hunger. A
war should be waged, but it should be a war on poverty. Because
if the ills of society are eradicated from the face of the earth,
so will terrorism be eradicated. The solution is simple. Why
can't our political leaders try it? Because they can't. Their
economic interests lie in filling their pockets with more and
more money and not in guaranteeing the well-being of society.
Who can? A new class of poor has developed along with the
development of electronics. As the new technology is introduced,
step by step, into more sectors of the economy, more and more
workers become obsolete in the way things are produced. This new
class of poor cuts across the color line. It's in the process of
being created; as the capitalist system disintegrates, the ranks
of this class of poor grow in corresponding proportion. They are
the part-time workers, the newly unemployed, the permanently
unemployed. They are the welfare recipients, the elderly poor,
the homeless, and the absolutely destitute.
While some might say that this class of poor are powerless,
others believe the contrary and see in this new class a
powerhouse to turn things around in this country. To this end,
armed with the program of this new class of poor -- not one more
child hungry, not one more person homeless, not one more sick
person without health care, not one more youth without quality
education -- some Americans are turning to the streets, the
churches, the radio waves, the spoken and printed work to awaken
and organize this new class of poor around their own class
interests and to rally society around the program of this new
class as the only solution to save America. What are you waiting
for?
[PT/TP Editorial Board, 2/12/02]
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This article originated in the PEOPLE'S TRIBUNE/TRIBUNO DEL
PUEBLO (Online Edition); P.O. Box 3524,Chicago, IL 60654; Email:
pt at noc.org; http://www.lrna.org Feel free to reproduce and use.



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